US sanctions Eritrean official for abuse of rights

A senior Eritrean military official has been sanctioned by the United States for “serious human rights abuses” during the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray.

The US Treasury Department said that forces under the command of General Filipos Woldeyohannes, Chief of Staff of the Eritrean Defense Forces (EDF), were responsible for “massacres, looting and sexual assault”.

“The Ministry of Finance will continue to take action against those involved in serious human rights violations around the world, including in the Tigray region of Ethiopia,” said Andrea Gacki, Head of the Office of Foreign Access Control.

“Such actions further aggravate the ongoing conflict and the humanitarian crisis,” Gacki said in a statement.

“We call on Eritrea to withdraw its troops from Ethiopia immediately and permanently and call on the parties to the conflict to open ceasefire negotiations and end human rights violations,” Gacki said.

Washington has repeatedly called on Eritrean troops to withdraw from Tigray, where thousands have been killed and more than 2 million displaced. The US International Development Agency (USAID) also warned that the Tigray region will run out of food this week to deliver to millions of people already living in famine conditions.

“Today’s actions demonstrate the United States’ commitment to incur costs for those responsible for these heinous acts, which exacerbates a conflict that has led to enormous suffering for Ethiopians,” Gacki said.

War broke out in November between the federal army and forces loyal to the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls the region.

The government declared victory at the end of that month, after seizing the regional capital Mekele. But the TPLF continued to fight and in late June, Mekele and most of Tigray retreated after government troops withdrew.


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